Cup_Final_Tickets-For_Sale_On_Ebay

Cup Final Tickets

Congratulations to all those that have now been informed and actually acquired their Champions League Final tickets. Although I qualified for the ballot I didn’t get one. No worries. It happens. Having been to the last three European Finals I can say that on the one hand it as an absolutely brilliant experience. However, on the other hand, it can be a bit gruelling. Cup final tickets invariably are as rare as hen’s teeth on occasions. The price we pay I suppose for supporting a successful, internationally renowned football club. Having said that though, are cup final tickets fairly allocated? There are many who will say an emphatic “No”.

Cup Final Tickets

Cup_Final_Tickets-For_Sale_On_Ebay
Cup_Final_Tickets-For_Sale_On_Ebay

As many are now discovering, getting cup final tickets is only a part of the experience (good or bad). What about travel and/or accommodation? Should the club(s) do more to help fans with travel and accommodation arrangements? The cynics will say, the club(s) aren’t bothered once they’ve had your ticket money. You will have noticed I have put club(s) and not just club. Ticketing and the associated travel and accommodation issues will also apply to all other big clubs no doubt.

What About Football’s Governing Bodies?

Taking it a step further, should the main footballing authorities do more? After all, without the fans travelling in numbers UEFA and FIFA wouldn’t have cup finals.

Let’s initially concentrate on the cup final tickets allocation. Both Liverpool and Real Madrid received the same allocation of just over 16,000 each. The stadium capacity for the final is 63,000. Two things immediately spring to mind. Firstly, a capacity of 63,000 fora major European Final?

Secondly the perennial problem of how many tickets are actually allocated to each club. You know, those two interested parties without whom there wouldn’t be a football match to watch. It seems it is a waste of time banging this drum though. Nothing never gets done by the imbalanced allocation.

Quite how almost 50% of the tickets are earmarked for corporate, other football organisations etc is quite staggering. The fans have to jump through hoops to get their hands on a ticket. What criteria does an interested corporate body have to fulfill. Hmmm….let me think!! Anything to do with the colour of their money by any chance?

And what about the price of cup final tickets?

The image above is a screenshot of a few that are for sale on Ebay (I thought this was stopped by the way?). There is one for sale at £1,500 on the same page. Bear in mind these prices may still go up. But what of the official ticket prices?

Price Of Attending A European Cup Final

The Cup Final tickets themselves were sold in four categories. Category 4 was the cheapest at £61, or £48 for a restricted view. Category 1 was a staggering £394. Quite incredibly, even a Category 1 ticket comes with an option of a restricted view. For this ‘special option’ fans were still being charged £315!!!!

Just take that in for a moment. You are expected to pay the grand sum of £315 and you won’t be able to see clearly!!! That is unbelievable. It is like paying top box office prices at the opera but having the ice cream vendor standing in front of you during the performance.

The sad thing is though, UEFA or the clubs don’t care because if you do not take up your ticket allocation there is always somebody else standing in line to take it if you don’t want it.

There are several pertinent questions that spring to mind. Sadly the answers to which are not for the benefit of the fans. For instance, why have it in a country so far away and in a stadium with restricted views. What input, if any, do the clubs have when deciding the venue for a major final?

Seeing the World Cup being awarded to Russia and Qatar is further evidence the fans are just a by-product of the greatest sport on the planet, not the lifeblood.

How much responsibility will FIFA accept when crowd violence kicks off in Russia. You guessed it….none!!

Who Qualifies For Cup Final Tickets?

In short, this was the criteria

Season ticket holders, official Members and Fan Card holders  

Tickets will be available based on attendance at the following Champions League fixtures during the 2017-2018 season:

Home: AS Roma, Manchester City, FC Porto, Spartak Moscow, Maribor, Sevilla.

Away: AS Roma, Manchester City, FC Porto, Sevilla, Maribor, Spartak Moscow.

Attendance at seven or more games – from 8.15am BST on Thursday May 10 until 8am BST on Friday May 11.

Supporters who purchase during the above sales are guaranteed a ticket.

BALLOT PROCESS

A ballot will take place for Season Ticket Holders, Official Members and Fan Card holders who have attended six Champions League matches during the 2017-18 season.

Premier Club and Carlsberg Dugout Seasonal Members will also be eligible to register for the ballot.

I’m guessing from the above there was not to be any priority given to season ticket holders. You know who they are don’t you? They’re the ones that pay their money for a whole season in advance in the May prior to the forthcoming season. In many cases they have had their season ticket for donkeys years. For instance, I’ve had mine since 1984.

Fan Card holders on the other hand may have joined last summer and only been to six matches ever!!!! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticising them. If those are the rules or the qualifying criteria given by the club why would they be concerned. Or, morally ‘guilty’ or concerned. I know I wouldn’t be.

As far as the club are concerned, they don’t care who gets the ticket. As long as they get their money, everything is fine.

Liverpool v Sheffield Wednesday 1994

Not a specifically memorable game necessarily, but I mention it for a reason. The 1994/95 season was the season the new Kop was under construction. The previous April, saw the standing Kop’s Last Stand when we played Norwich. There was a temporary open top stand on the site of the Kop. We were fortunate to have a season ticket for the 4,000 or so seated stand.

I remember there was still quite a lot of fans trying to get in at The Kop end just as the teams were coming out. Someone called out to a policeman on a horse (you don’t see them any more do you?), “Why not radio through and ask them to delay kick off as there’s so many still outside?”

To which the policeman replied, “You’re season ticket holders aren’t you? They’re already had your money so they’re not bothered about you lot!!”

This exchange has stuck in my mind since. In short, the club value us fans without a doubt…..but not as much as our money. That is not a naive comment. I realise this is the case. And yes, I accept it as my desire to get my season ticket and watch the team I love outweighs the negatives. The same applies for thousands of others of course. It doesn’t make it right though.

Ticket Application Successful – What Next?

This is where the next stage of fun and games start. Prices for flights and accommodation go through the roof. Massively so. No doubt the airlines and the hotels and guest houses are simply responding to the economic basics of ‘supply and demand’ aren’t they though. Yes they are to a large extent, but to coin a phrase, they are “taking the P***”

Travel Partner’s Price Hike

On the day the ballot was being made (last Friday, 11th May), Thomas Cook, Liverpool FC’s official travel partner, hiked the flight prices up to Kiev from £759 to £899. The reason for the price hike from £759 to £899? According to Thomas Cook this was because they had to lease planes from elsewhere to cope with the extra demand. That is simply a bland statement, not a justification. For instance, how much did they have to pay for these leased planes? Were these prices passed on at cost to the fans? Er, let me think about that one!!!

So, although that ‘explains’ (it doesn’t justify) the increase from £759 to £899, what about the original price of £759? How was that arrived at? Bearing in mind, Thomas Cook flew Man City fans to Kiev for £ 299 earlier in the season.

Surely the costs of our travel partner (you know, that travel company who you would think would look after us in tandem with the club!!) haven’t increased that much? Apparently not it would seem. The reason for the increase to £759 from £299 was, to quote, “the prices are calculated based on demand and we keep in line with our competitor’s prices. The club also will have some decision on the cost.”

This final statement quoting the club’s involvement is not so apparently. The club did not have any input in arriving at the prices.

We all know the reasons. It’s “take the p*** time again”. Why not be honest and say, “we thought we’d exploit the fans again as much as can”, instead of the bull**** excuses. Don’t treat us like idiots.

Cup Final Tickets Bought, Flight Sorted – What About Accommodation?

Did you read about the guy who took a punt and booked accommodation for 4 adults and one 9-year old boy, a couple of months ago? By all accounts it cost £79.60. Not sure if that was for all 5 of them or for each of them. Either way, very reasonable nevertheless. If we didn’t make it to the final, then not a huge amount lost if they didn’t go.

Once Liverpool got to the final, they received a notification from the guest house or hotel saying their booking had been cancelled. However, there was good news. They could rebook. Yay!!! A result!! Yes, they could rebook but for a price of £15,000!!! Wow, that’s incredible if true. I read this story somewhere. I can’t remember where. But as far as I know, this is true.

Cup_Final_Tickets-Accommodation_In_Kiev-One_Night-260518
Cup Final Tickets-Accommodation_In_Kiev-One_Night-260518

Anyway, the image above is a screenshot of what prices are available today as I write. One room for 2 adults for either £1,368 or £1,838. Is this reasonable?…..he asked with tongue firmly in cheek!!

Let’s see how much we would be expected to pay if we booked a room on, say, the 28th May. See below for the result of this search. One price at £63 for the night and another for £36. Hmm…..not much in it is there?

Cup_Final_Tickets-Accommodation-280518
Cup Final Tickets-Accommodation-280518

Shock, horror!!! Football fans of a big club being exploited? Surely not?

Not The Clubs, Or UEFA’s Problem

You may ask, what has that to do with the clubs? Or UEFA for that matter? Interesting point. I heard the following as a great idea to solve this additional problem for the fans. Ignoring for the moment whether the clubs or not have an input into the venue. Let’s assume that it is still all down to UEFA. Whenever a country have sufficiently impressed the UEFA bigwigs with their schmoozing and ‘powers of persuasion’ and the venue and the date has been decided, what about this as an idea.

UEFA pre-book en block a raft of accommodations there and then in advance. If need be the costs could even be spread around all clubs taking part. Then, when it comes to the final itself, UEFA can offer for sale accommodation at cost prices (or maybe at cost price with a small admin mark up – but not 20x the normal cost). Thye tickets though should go to proper fans of the clubs. Maybe be offered as an add-on in any ticket ballot.

I would imagine the hotels and guest houses themselves may well be happy with that arrangement. After all they are getting booking income in advance some 9 months before the event. Also worth considering, prices mostly go through the roof when British teams are involved. I remember Istanbul 2005 and Athens 2007. It wasn’t exactly a case of “spot the AC Milan” fan but not too far removed from that. Didn’t Milan return some tickets in 2007?

Alaves fans in 2001 may have come in a couple of mini-buses. But the stadium was full. The point is, the same exploitation may not go on if there isn’t a British club in the final.

Why Not Try This?

This may work? What do you think? Well, it would work for those that should matter above anybody else. Yes, the fans themselves. Airline companies, guest houses and hotels could still rip match goers off….er….I mean, ‘react to the market forces of supply and demand’ by charging their ‘special’ prices to the corporate and other hangers-on ticket holders. Sorted!!!

Oh wait a minute though. That would be construed as giving something back to the fans. We can’t have that could we.

This Needs To Be Sorted

I am constantly amazed at all the major decisions in football being discussed without any input from the real people that matter. The fans. Do you think official supporters clubs should be involved in the decision making process? I do. Let’s try and get something back for the fans.

Regular readers of my blog (do I have any?), may remember a couple of other articles I wrote pointing out how the fans are ‘having the p*** taken out of them’.

You can read them by clicking the links below……

Wembley FA Cup Semi Finals – taking the p*** out of the fans. Read more HERE.

Saturday Night Football – Matches to kick off on a Saturday night at 7:45pm. Definitely taking the p***!! Read more HERE.

How long will it be before fans say “enough is enough”? Cup final tickets is only part of the problem. But a big part nonetheless. For all those that have their cup final tickets – well done. Enjoy the experience. It’s mega.

Probably never going to happen is it. Way too many armchair fans to satisfy the ‘powers that be’ greed.

Wouldn’t it be nice though if now and then the footballing authorities and our own clubs themselves gave us fans something other than lip service. I won’t hold my breath!!

Rant over!!!

 

 

 

 

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